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5 hurt after NJ amusement park ride collapses

August 20, 2011 2:14:06 PM PDT
An amusement park ride designed like a giant pirate ship that swings back and forth partially collapsed at a New Jersey amusement park where a girl fell to her death from a Ferris wheel in June, and five people were injured.

The center mast snapped on the Sea Dragon ride Friday night, Wildwood police said. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the mast to break.

A teenager was sent to the hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, and four others were treated at the scene for minor injuries, authorities said.

Wildwood police and the state will investigate. A spokeswoman for the amusement park, Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier, declined to answer questions, including how long the ride would be out of service and whether the park would revisit its safety and inspection procedures.

It was the park's the second serious accident this summer. On June 3, 11-year-old Abiah Jones of Pleasantville was killed when she fell from a Ferris wheel while at the pier on a school trip for honor-roll students. Officials have said she was alone in a car when she fell.

A state report found the ride's restraints to be working properly and suggested that to get out of the car, a passenger probably would have had to stand.

The Ferris wheel was closed for about two weeks, and new safety precautions were implemented before it was put back in service. The changes included that there be a minimum of two passengers per car, and the minimum height required for someone to ride the 156-foot-high Ferris wheel was raised from 54 inches to 60 inches.

Jones' parents have sued the park, claiming it was negligent to keep the ride open on a windy day. They are seeking unspecified damages and have called for the installation of seat belts or other restraining devices on Ferris wheels nationwide.


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